This article was originally published on Real Money on Sept. 21, 2016.
Following nearly two decades as a public company, Juniper Networks (JNPR) has signaled it's open to being acquired.
Private equity firms might be drawn to the networking and security hardware vendor's low valuation and blue chip customer list. On the other hand, thanks to a mixture of financial, regulatory and strategic reasons, there might not be many peers willing to consider a bid.
In a recent SEC 8-K filing, Juniper disclosed it has amended its change of control agreement so that the severance payments due to senior executives will now equal 150% and (for CEO Rami Rahim) 200% of their annual base salary and target bonus, rather than 100%. The company also adjusted the definition of a "good reason" for terminating the employment of an executive following a change of control. Shares closed up 5.3% on Wednesday as a result. (For a look at what this means for JNPR in technical terms, sign up for 14-day free trial of TheStreet's premium site Real Money and check out my fellow columnist Gary Morrow's latest charts on the stock.)
With Juniper trading for 10.9 times a consensus 2017 EPS estimate of $2.16, the company's valuation could appeal to PE firms, such as Vista Equity and Thoma Bravo, which have been avidly snapping up enterprise tech companies over the last two years. And while telecom capex swings bring some volatility to Juniper's sales, the company's large installed router base at many Tier-1 global carriers provides a measure of stability.